Ofcom's 2016 Media Use and Attitudes report has just been published.
The full report (200+ pages) is available for free download. However, here are some highlights of interest to information professionals.
Consumers are unsophisticated searchers – but there has been some improvement since 2014
- 51% of UK searchers can't spot a paid ad
- Even though sponsored links are distinguished by an orange box with the word 'Ad' in it, only half of adults aged 16+ who use search engines identified sponsored links on Google as advertising.
- 18% of searchers think that if a website has been listed it must be accurate and unbiased.
- 12% say they have not thought about it.
- 8% say they do not know.
- (62%) search engine users demonstrate some level of critical understanding by acknowledging that some websites returned by search engines will be accurate or unbiased while others will not be – this figure remains unchanged in the last 12 months
- However, the percentage of users believing that search engine results will be accurate and unbiased has declined from 23% to 18%
- 78% of users have watched a short video clip online, up 5% from 2014
- Weekly video watching figures have increased significantly in the last 12 months – up from 39% to 48%
- Smartphones are the most used devices for watching video – especially with younger adults
Social inclusion and connectivity
Almost two thirds of the over-75s and a third of those aged 64-74 year olds never access the internet. Additionally older users of the internet are more likely to be 'narrow' internet users – regularly using a limited number of sites and tools and unwilling to access new sites.
One of the most interesting findings is about the communication landscape – and how different age groups use communication tools. The report warns against a 'polarity' in the landscape in which different generations use different tools:
“… and there is a risk that common means of communication that cut across demographics are becoming increasingly rare, with implications for social connectivity and information-sharing.”
The full report is available here. Additional content from econsultancy.